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Sports News of Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Source: goal.com

Zito on Ghana’s penalty heroics against Niger

Ghana U20 coach Abdul Karim Zito reveals his team has achieved their main target of the ongoing WAFU B U20 Cup of Nations by their qualification for next year's Africa U20 Cup of Nations tournament in Mauritania.

The Black Satellites sealed their progress with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out win over Niger in the Wafu Cup semi-final which also guaranteed a place in the final of the competition.

The match had ended 0-0 after extra-time at Stade de Gaules in Porto Novo in Benin.

“We came in for the qualification. After securing that, we’re going to also fight for the cup,” Zito told Silver FM.

“Personally, I am okay with the qualification. But if we are also able to win the cup, that will be great.

“We are not going to relax in our pursuit for the ultimate, we will go all out [to win the trophy]."

Ghana's shoot-out win was remarkable considering the nation's penalty woes at various international competitions in recent times.

On Tuesday, all five penalty takers, including goalkeeper William Emmanuel Essu, who was introduced into the game just before extra-time full-time, expertly converted their kicks, much to the admiration of many.

“Penalties are often Ghana’s bane. So as part of my training, penalties are practiced at the end of every session,” Zito said.

“We tried this severally before leaving Ghana for the tournament.

“The goalkeeper [Essu] we introduced for Danlad [Ibrahim] is good at taking penalties and also his frame makes him a good option to scare opponents in shootout scenarios.

“So we always leave one change available for such an instance. It is something we practice at training and you can see that for once we were able to score all the kicks.

“We were repeating this all the time so we were certain of those who would take the kicks."

In the final, Ghana is set to take on Burkina Faso who handed Cote d'Ivoire a big 4-1 defeat in the second semi-final fixture on Tuesday.

At the U20 Afcon next year, the top nations will be rewarded with tickets to represent the continent at the 2021 Fifa U20 World Cup in Indonesia.

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